This Grilled Black Bean and Corn Salsa combines the mild flavors of grilled corn, Roma tomatoes and black beans to create the perfect appetizer for a cookout or game day. You are in charge of how much heat you want to add!
When it’s time to entertain, it is so much fun to offer a variety of dishes that aren’t always the typical “chips and salsa.” You want your appetizers to stand out and take notice. This is the time you want to take a bit more time to give your friends a layered, charred flavor that is mild and addicting. The sweet corn mixed with the black beans give the salsa a mild base. Bringing in your own choice of peppers will determine where on the heat scale you want to go.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
- It’s a healthy recipe that is loaded with lots of important nutrients.
- Easy to make.
- Due to the fresh food, it is so light and refreshing.
- Can easily be customized to be spicier. One way to do that is to use the Grilled Mexican Street Corn instead of standard corn.
- It will win over even the toughest crowds.
- Use this in other recipes that call for salsas as a substitute like the Tex Mex Flank Steak or the Chicken Leg Quarters w/Pico.
Sweet White Corn – Ears of corn can be found at grocery stores and farmers markets for a good part of the summer. When you are buying the corn, make sure to pull back the husks a little bit to make sure the corn is good.
Jalapeño – We tend to pick a traditional jalapeño pepper rather than the hotter Serrano peppers. These are the thick skinned ones that are about three inches long and are added to so many dishes. If you pick up the red variety, it will be a bit milder.
Note: When you are working with jalapeños, it’s best to remember that the heat is found in the seeds so you have full control over the amount of heat you have in your dish. We like to add a few seeds to pump it up just a tad bit. The other thing to think about is that the jalapeños become more mild as they grill. So, if you really want to crank up the heat, I would recommend you skip the grilling.
Roma Tomatoes – Romas are great in salsas as they are firm and have less pulp inside of them. Unless I am making a traditional blender style salsa that uses a can of San Marino tomatoes, I stick to the classic roma.
Red Onion – Red onions are mild onions and are great to use with salsas. You can alternatively use a sweet onion. If you use a regular cooking onion, it will compete with the jalapeno and not have that mild/spicy complexity you are looking for in each bite of your salsa.
🔥 Grilling Instructions
Step One: Heat up the grill to 400 degrees on direct heat. Place ears of corn on the grill for 10 minutes to char the outside. Turn them over and grill for 4-7 more minutes. You are looking for a charred, crispy outside husk.
Step Two: Pull back the husks of corn along with any strings and grill for 3-5 minutes to get the nice char on the kernels. Remove from the grill and allow to cool.
Step Three: Cut the corn off of the ears and place into a bowl.
Step Four: Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the juices and seeds using a kitchen spoon. Spray olive oil on and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the peppers and red onions in half, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray the jalapeño with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as well. Grill them at 400 degrees for about ten minutes and turn half way through. Allow them to cool before cutting up.
Note: Grill the tomatoes for just 4-5 minutes. If you grill longer than that, they become too soft. You really just want the nice sear marks. Test out a couple and see if you like the texture. I left them on too long the first time and calibrated accordingly when it came time for this recipe.
Step Five: Cut up the tomatoes, pepper, red onion and jalapeños once they cool and add to the bowl with the corn.
Step Six: Combine the corn, tomatoes, pepper, red onion, black beans, lime juice, garlic and cilantro.
Step Seven: Add avocado, as desired. Toss to combine and serve with chips.
PRO TIP: You can use frozen ears of corn in the spring and fall. Defrost and grill for 10-14 minutes. The corn will be charred as they are exposed to the heat for the entire time. Alternatively, cook the corn for less time if you like the added crunch!
You can do a lot with this recipe to mix it up and change it out.
Peppers – Change out the peppers to give the salsa more or less heat. Remember that if you add the seeds, that is really going to add to the temperature.
Red/Green/Yellow Peppers – Add more peppers or remove them altogether. For this recipe we chose one purplish one we picked up from the farmers market.
Beans – Add in different beans like a tri color or garbanzo beans. Optionally, leave the beans out. I liked having the extra protein in the dish.
👨🍳 Recipe FAQs
Naturally, you can eat it with your favorite tortilla chips, but there are other ways that are great too. You can add it to all your favorite Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. Or add it on top of a helping of nachos for a little extra pizzazz.
You can even add it to lettuce and eat it as a light and refreshing wrap—top grilled chicken or salmon with it. Basically, there are no wrong ways to eat this recipe.
Keep it airtight, and it will last 5-7 days in the fridge. You may want to add a little bit of salt and some extra lime juice right before serving to liven it back up.
Sure! Again, it will need to be airtight, but it will last 2-3 months in the freezer. Be sure to place it in the fridge overnight, so it has time to thaw out before serving.
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Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salsa
- 3 ears Corn keep the husks on
- Spray Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 Roma Tomatoes chopped after grilling
- 1 Pepper we used a purple one but red, yellow or green will work, chopped after grilling
- 1 can Black Beans strained
- 1 Jalapeño chopped after grilling
- ½ Red Onion chopped after grilling
- ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
- 2 Limes juiced
Grill the Corn
- Heat the grill to 400 degrees over direct heat. Grill the corn with the husks still on for about 10-12 minutes or until charred. Allow to cool and slide back the husks.
- Grill the corn for an additional 5 minutes over the grill grate to char the corn kernels.
- Once cooled, cut the corn off of each ear and put in a bowl.
Grill the Other Vegetables
- Cut the Roma tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Cut the onion in half (you will only be using 1/2 of the onion though) and spray everything with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place everything including the jalapeño on the grill to char and/or blister for about 10 minutes.
- Turn the vegetables over half way through (at about 5 mintues)
Prepare the Black Bean and Corn Salsa
- Combine the black beans, chopped up tomatoes, corn, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno into a bowl and combine. Stir in the juice of two limes and combine.
- Serve immediately with chips or you can store in the refrigerator for up to two days.